It’s easy to be intimidated by all of the green living options out there. Even by taking the smallest step towards a toxin neutral lifestyle, you are making a difference. In this section we will show you easy ways to be healthier and happier in your home and work environments without breaking the bank.
DO IT YOURSELF
Battling Mold Without Toxic Chemicals
Finding mold in your home is frustrating but unfortunately it is a very common battle. Most people will grab the bleach and spray away until they don’t see the toxic black stuff anymore but there are natural ways to combat mold without the harsh chemicals.
Fill a spray bottle with water and add 15 drops of tea tree oil. Spray onto the affected area and leave for 2 hours. Wipe the affected areas up with a cloth. I opted to use my supply of paper towel because honestly I did not want to be reusing cloths after them coming in contact with mold...no matter how much I would wash them. If the area has completely dried them spray a bit more of the tea tree oil and water mix on to make the cleanup easier. For those hard to reach areas like the crevasses and corners of the windows use a toothbrush or q-tip. This will also work in your shower and bathtubs, fabric and pretty much any other sealed service.
Mold can have an impact on your health in many ways, and the severity can very from minimal to severe based on your sensitivity to mold. It can cause stuffiness, coughing, wheezing, eye irritation and even depression. It is important that when you discover mold you not only clean it up but also prevent if from coming back.
Replace Your Carpet With Green Carpet or Other Alternatives. If you are in the market for a less toxic alternative to your carpet, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends buying carpets that have:
Fibers that are safe and eco-friendly include (use for rugs or for broadloom):
Bamboo flooring is sustainable as bamboo is a grass that grows very quickly. Cork flooring is also a great alternative, it is incredibly sustainable because it is made from the outer bark of the cork oak tree meaning the tree does not have to be cut down in order to be harvested. Cork can be harvested from a tree every 9 years!
Freshen Up Your Home Decor With Eco Paint One of the quickest ways to perk up your home is with a fresh coat of paint but traditional paint contains harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). Here are a few recommendations for No-VOC interior paints that can come in virtually any color.
Another aspect of reducing toxins in your home environment is properly disposing of your waste. Paint is not to be poured down any drains or tossed in the landfill, PaintCare will help you recycle your paint for a nominal fee. Check out their site for locations to drop off your unused paint!
PLANT SOLUTIONS, NASA APPROVED
Did you know in the 1980’s, NASA conducted studies on how houseplants can aid in the purification of indoor air? If we think about it, it makes complete sense. Astronauts spend months contained in environments with stagnant, regulated air. Any help they can get to increase the purity of the air around them would be welcome while orbiting the earth. Here are the top 10 houseplants NASA has found to be effective in purifying toxins from the air. By taking a little bit of time to include these plants in your home or work environments, you can help neutralize the toxins you come into contact with.
REUSE & RECYCLE
There are over 300 million shipping containers sitting, completely empty, in ports around the world. It is too expensive for the country to ship their containers back. It is much cheaper for these countries to buy new ones. The average life of a shipping container in the shipping service is 10-15 years, but the steel frame will maintain strength for much longer. Containers are designed to be weather tight, immune to mold, bugs, and the elements. The steel frame is so strong that they can stack the containers 9-12 tall (fully loaded up to 153,000 pounds). Building with shipping containers has become a popular application all over the world due foremost to their superior strength, and inexpensive costs (some used containers can sell for as little as $900). It also helps to reduce waste and turn that waste into shelter. Containers have been used to construct: homes, hotels, workshops, low income housing, swimming pools, tornado shelters, garages, offices and classrooms.
The steel frame offers strength that standard home building materials can't match. Some containers can be made hurricane, earthquake, fire & tornado resistant.
The modular design of the containers makes the design of the structure highly versatile. A single container could provide a nice shop or garage. Using multiple containers allows for customization of the structure, from schools to larger homes.
Shipping containers are available both used and new. Transportation of the modules is simple because they already conform to all transportation standards.
Shipping containers are inexpensive. Prices range from $1,200 – $6,000. A home utilizing 6 containers would only cost $7,200 before design and construction.
With so many in use, out of use and being produced, shipping containers will be readily available for quite some time. Using containers to build creates a effective reuse of what is otherwise a large volume of waste.
Steel is an amazing conductor, which means that in extreme heat and cold the container would need to be insulated more than the average brick, block or wood structure.
In temperate climates, the interior air will condense against the steel. Unless the shipping container is properly sealed and insulates, rust will form. The rust would decrease the life of the container, and affect the occupants personal health.
SIZE AND WEIGHT
Due to their size and weight, shipping container construction will require forklifts, and occasionally cranes. Equipment like this can be expensive to use/rent.
Some community building code might not accept the permits for building with containers. It is a new technique, some places may have never seen it used before.
Some older containers contain chemicals that were used in the manufacture of the container, paint & sealants. Refinishing the containers would be an added expense.
USING OLD MATERIALS TO CREATE SOMETHING NEW
We all want to live in a cleaner, sustainable environment. Innovators are currently working on projects to help: cut our reliance on fossil fuels, eliminate toxins & pollutants, help prevent global warming, create sustainable energy sources and help to make our planet healthier. After all, we only have one.
Scott & Julie Brusaw had a ridiculous idea in 2009. What if the US replaced all of our roads with solar panels? After years of hard work, innovation and design, Scott & Julie have an effective prototype that could very well become the future. They made a stellar YouTube video to explain all the benefits we could enjoy if all roads in the United States were converted to the "Solar FREAKIN' Roadways"...enjoy.
Researchers have been experimenting with ways to meld concrete and organic compounds in order to develop a type of concrete that repairs itself. Imagine if governments didn't have to spend fortunes each year repairing roadways, bridges and other structures. The technology harnesses the power of the sun to fill cracks in various concrete & masonry applications. Other experiments have led to breakthroughs in the creation of the concrete/masonry, making a sort of bioMasonry. Check out the links below for more information.
NET ZERO ENERGY BUILDINGS
The Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) certification is a highly sought after goal for new building across the globe. These buildings are officially working on zero energy from the grid. They harness the energy from the sun, the wind or the earth in order to exceed the amount of energy that they require to operate. This sounds like a dream, but it is becoming reality all across the globe. Check out the video & links for more info and official details on the project.
ALGAE POWERED BUILDING
The world's first algae-powered building recently opened in Hamburg, Germany. The building is completely, 100%, powered by algae. Inside the glass panels of the windows, there is a green liquid which contains algae. This algae serves as a sort of bio-reactor, which is built into the window panes. The algae heat the building, and any excess heat generated is stored underground for use in the cold winters. The heat is generated through photosynthesis. When the algae dies it can be collected and used as a food supplement. This food base is rich in minerals. Check out details of the project in the video & links below.